ON a 30in. freestanding gas range, 4 0r 5 burners?

shelendeJuly 21, 2013

Has anybody purchased a 5 burner gas range and found that they didn't use the 5th burner? I was in Sears and they had a lot of 4 burner gas ranges for less money than the kind with 5 burners. However, the 5 burner ranges looked nicer, more current and trendier. I haven't purchased a gas range in about 12 years and I would like one that looks great but it seems to be the new ones are not really practical with all the grating on top. Right now I have a large storage drawer that is smaller in the new models and also sometimes you might want to rest a utensil on the stove in between the burners that you cannot do on the grated tops between the burners without being extra careful.

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There's no way that 5 normal sized pots fits in 30" of space. Heck, 4 normal sized pots won't really fit. You have to have 3 of the 4 be smaller if you're using a 12" skillet.

Skip focusing on looks. It barely correlates with the ability of the range to create a properly cooked meal.

Look at the BTU's, accessory ovens, convection baking, or other functional differences between ranges first. Then brand reputation and reliability. Then ventilation requirements for the additional firepower, if that needs to be addressed. (As if you are moving up to a pro grade range, you'll want additional CFM to deal with that.)

Only after you consider all of that should the choice between two come down to which one looks better.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 2:54PM
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Pardon my COFS, but your question about 5-burner gas stoves is actually a bit more complicated than you might have thought because there are three different kinds of 5-burner 30" ranges, and discussions go back least at decade.

(BTW, COFS = chronic old fart syndrome, which is what I suffer from. I don't mean to sound testy, but sometimes come across that way, so please don't take any of what I say as personal criticism.)

Currently, the three kinds of center-burners are:

(a) oblong and oval "griddle" burners (which are typically rated for 9k to 10k btu-hr. and often come with a non-stick oblong or rectangular griddle). The expensive GE Cafe line of gas and dual fuel stoves ($2800 - $3200) have these, and that's where I've seen most of the comments and discussion. So do some less expensive GE Profile, Bosch, Kitchenaid and Electrolux Icon in the mid to upper-mid- price range, as do at least some GE and Frigidaire gas stoves priced at around $1k and under. Opinions on the usefulness of the oval burners vary as do the opnions on the supplied griddles. (Thin and cheap is an epithet that has been mentioned a couple of times ;>) Some think the burners are great for making gravy in roasting pans, poaching whole fish (do you have a fish poaching pan?), and pancakes production. Others think the griddle too small. If you flip the griddles over to use them as grill pans (or have an aftermarket pan like a Chef-King, Lodge or LeCreuset), opinions seem to range from "they're okay for a couple of burgers" to "utterly useless." (IOW, no consensus.) Most of the discussion that I recall seeing here has been in the threads on the GE Cafe ranges. You might have to do some digging to find those discussions while waiting for a response here from somebody who actually has one. Also, try searching the cookware forum on Chowhound and maybe eGullet, too. The oval burners are thin enough and bent away from the other burners that (supposedly) you can put normal size saucepans and 10 -ich fry pans on the adjacent burners. At least the griddle plate gives you a place to put spoons and ladles.

(b) large, high-btu center burners, made for heating large pots and called variously, "power-boil," "super-boil" and the like. IIRC, DCS was the first to offer style about 10 or 12 years ago. Folks loved it or hated it. Apparently, enough folks liked it that numbers of other brands now offer them including Whirlpool/Maytag, LG, Samsung, Some people find the center big burner handy for large kettles of water (as for massive quantities of pasta or making beer or canning operations or using 14" woks) but most folks here at GW don't think much of these because, as Greendesigns says, putting a big pot in the center doesn't leave much cooktop room on the other burners and makes it hard to use anything but small pans (sometimes, very small pans) when the center burner is in use. The flame spread n these power-burners is so large it can be hard to run smaller pans on them (because even on low, the flames may be spreading beyond the pan base.)

(c) small, 5k btu-hr simmer burners in the center for keeping small/tiny pans warm when you are using the other four burners. Maybe you want to melt butter in a steel measuring cup? Seems pretty hard to use them for anything else. GE and Whirlpool/Maytag and Samsung offer these stoves mostly under $1k, as best I can recall. I think I recall seeing one of the $2500 Electrolux Icon or Wavetouch gas models with center simmer burner.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Sun, Jul 21, 13 at 16:24

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 4:16PM
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Ask yourself how often you think you'd really be using 5 burners at once. Unless you are running a restaurant or cooking constantly for a family of ten, I can't see that you'd need five burners. Plus, I agree that it is nigh on to impossible to actually get a configuration of pans that would work with five burners.

We bought a new four burner 30" gas range six months ago, and I can barely even count the times I have had three burners running at the same time.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 4:47PM
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